Friday, December 30, 2011

Not Enough or The Ghosts of Christmases Past

Last night my Mom hosted a little shindig with some of our closest friends, hers and mine. I’ve mentioned before how we’ve moved around a fair bit, and although I lived in Houston for nigh on twelve years it just so happened that many, if not most, of my friends moved around a fair bit too. The result of all this moving and shaking is that I have very, very few childhood friends.

But yesterday I got to spend the evening with some of my best friends in Houston, some of which I’d lost contact with for a few years and others that I’d kept up with despite the distance in both time and space. It made me feel like a whole person again and yet it made me feel all broken apart too. Each of them had an anecdote, a memory of my family, of the person I was before the person I’ve become. And I wonder what they see now. Am I still some version of the girl they knew? Or have I morphed into a completely different human being?

I’ve only been here a week, and yet, I’ve already started getting a bit melancholic for the life that could have been. I’ve always suffered from the “what ifs”, and now, now that my family’s changed, now that my mom lives here permanently again, now that (due to the husband’s health situation) I likely never will live here again, now I feel them more than ever. What if I hadn’t gone to Italy for University, what if I hadn’t married the husband and stayed there, what if I’d come home sooner, what if he hadn’t had leukemia, what could have been of this life I live?

When you grow up in a multi-ethnic household, when you live here and there and everywhere you end up always feeling a little lost. I’m not Italian, I’m not Brazilian, I’m not American, I’m a little bit of everything and a little bit of nothing and it’s hard to stick a definition on it. It’s hard for me to stick a definition on myself, it’s hard to find something that fits. I spend so much of my time in Italy daydreaming about coming to America, about coming home, that it surprises me that when I finally get here I could possibly be so adrift. All the insecurities of the child I was, the child that arrived from Italy, with her loud, vivacious, oh so Italian father and her exotic mother, the child that spoke with a heavy British accent, that struggled to fit in, all those insecurities of years spent never really fitting in come rushing back to the surface.

Starting the year like this frightens me. Always wondering if I’ve done enough in the past, if I’m doing enough right now, if I am enough as I am, it’s tiring and scary and very, very unsettling at my age. Am I pretty enough, am I thin enough, am I elegant enough, am I intelligent enough, am I interesting enough, am I well-read and well-bred enough, am I loving enough, am I compassionate enough, am I patient enough…. I could go on and on and on, and the answer to most of those questions is no. 

It’s a little bit sad and a little bit startling to me that when faced with the ghosts of Christmases past the thought that underlies all my emotions, my words and my actions, at the end of the day is am I good enough? And I don’t like the answer.


  1. Growing up in a multicultural, mixed race home, I totally understand what you mean by never quite fitting in, never being one or the other, and yet being both. I'm not Asian, I'm not American, I'm not Norwegian, or South African, and yet I'm all of the above. I think, when I moved to Thailand, I half-hoped I'd find the pieces that were missing, but of course that didn't happen. I found some new pieces, and rediscovered some old ones...but if I ever thought I was going to magically achieve some unified, coherent sense of identity, I was wrong. At least, in the sense that my identity would ever look anything like those around me.

    I'm learning to be okay with that. I'm learning to me just the most ME-est me I can be. And I tell myself, if I ever fit in, I won't stand out - and that's not all bad.

    You can't be anybody but who you are...but the fabulous thing about that is that only you can be YOU. There's only one person in this world who is be that person. And that is enough.

  2. You are good enough. You're wonderful. Smart, caring, funny, beautiful. I know that just from meeting you here. The people who know you in real life are lucky to have you. You're life could have been very different, all of ours could have-but that doesn't mean it would have been better or worse. You're living the life you were meant to live, because it's yours. 

  3. As always Moomser, moving, touching, thoroughly relatable and eerily similar to many of the thoughts that flash through my mind at daily intervals. Would it be selfish to find myself comforted in the fact the I wasn't the only one with a loud vivacious father, or preoccupied with the coulda-woulda-shouldas?
    One thing's for sure, we should see more of each other over this break. Tarek starts school Wednesday and I'll be far more available to help you out with the kids or keep you company in any way I can. 
    Happy New Year to you and btw, I found the Girl's bows ;)
    Cheers and baci, Alcira

  4. I can relate to so much of what you wrote, moving around, coming from different cultures, being a bit of everything and a lot of nothing, never fitting in 100%, never feeling totally at home. I have a lot of doubts, could have done things differently and made a lot of other choices. There are a few things I would never change or trade in my life but there are doubts and sadness for what could have been. One thing I do not doubt: you are enough, you are beautiful in and out, you are a great mom and a good friend.

  5. You can't live in the what if's babe. Keep your eyes on the road. xx

  6. you're right, it's just so hard not to get lost in the daydreaming, annoying as it may be

  7. It is comforting to know that there are others feeling the same things...
    Let's get together again this week, maybe after school?
    Glad to know I'm not losing bows all over Houston!

  8. True, I know I shouldn't get lost in the what ifs but it's hard to control, kind of like a chocolate craving!

  9. the me-est me, I quite like that!